Tripping on Bond
Hop aboard our James Bond express as we globetrot across some locations 007 has adventured over the 50 years in His Majesty's Service. Don't forget to buckle up; travelling ala Bond is mighty exciting!
Do it like Bond: The Caribbean nation of Jamaica and James Bond go back a long way. Writer Ian Fleming prominently featured this beautiful country in novels like Live and Let Die, Dr No and Octopussy, and wrote all his books from the Goldeneye estate, which is now an exclusive clifftop resort. The island of Jamaica is full of sun and sand, with a cuisine to match once you whet your appetite snorkeling and diving in the pristine blue Caribbean waters. Spend the evening soaking up the culture. Jamaica is famous for its art, music and love for the good life.
You know it from: Dr No, the first Bond movie, was shot partly in Jamaica. The country also played a major role in immortalising the Bond Girl. Ursula Andress’s famous entry as the white-bikini clad Honey Ryder was shot on the Laughing Waters beach in Ocho Rios. Many other Bond films have been shot in the country since.
Do it like Bond: And while we’re globetrotting, there’s no reason why our homeland should stay off the map. After all, even the steely determination of Bond succumbed to the charms of this Rajasthani city. The princely city of Udaipur is a walk down history lane, with majestic lakes and palaces, and the famous Lake Palace, which covers an entire island. Culture, good food and the arts all rolled into one.
You know it from: The Lake Palace had a significant role to play in the 1983 Bond film Octopussy. Roger Moore, as Bond, travels to Udaipur, via the Taj Mahal of course, where the Lake Palace in Lake Pichola doubles up as a floating palace, home to Octopussy. While Bond relaxed at Hotel Shiv Niwas Palace, the third palace of the Mewar Royalty, Summer Palace, was used as Kamal Khan’s retreat, where Bond is held captive.
Do it like Bond: Switzer-land needs no introduction. Not only is an entire generation of Indians brought up on the romantic sights that the Alpine country provides, in typical Bond style, the country indulges your adventure junkie self too. Starting from cable cars to skiing in the Alps or dining at a height of 9,745 atop the Schilthorn summit in the revolving restaurant, Piz Gloria, which serves Bond-inspired menus and a gallery of memorabilia, you know whom to thank for the adrenaline rush when in Switzerland.
You know it from: The country was featured in Goldfinger, where Sean Connery George drove an Aston Martin around the stunning alpine roads, including a car chase in the Furka Pass. Lazenby as James Bond in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ revived Bond’s connection with the country when he took on the bad guys atop the Swiss Alps, making Piz Gloria famous as Blofeld’s lair.
Do it like Bond: The Republic of Turkey is a perfect mélange of the Oriental and the Occidental, with stunning landscapes, rugged mountainous regions and the breathtaking Black Sea, Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The main attraction of this country, however, lies in its rich culture. Think Ottoman architecture, busy flea markets hawking exotic carpets, and restaurants with its mezzes, kebabs and baklava.
You know it from: Istanbul has been a frequent haunt for the Brit agent, from rendezvous in its heritage sites to Brosnan saving the city from annihilation in The World is not Enough. In the latest Bond adventure, Skyfall, Craig turns the busy Grand Bazaar into a high action zone and then journeys onto its Mediterranean coast and Adana in South Turkey.
Do it like Bond: To say Iceland is beautiful is to state the obvious. The beauty lies in the fact that most of the Icelandic charm is completely new to the eyes of an Indian traveller. The Nordic European island country is home to dramatic landscapes carved out from volcanic eruptions and glaciers. Choose between skiing, river rafting, relaxing in a thermal heated pool, visiting a glacier lagoon and black sand beaches or hiking. The island is also known as one of the top ten sites for whale watching and is being regarded as the top ten destinations of 2013.
You know it from: The Pierce Brosnan-starrer Die Another Day features a high-speed car chase sequence through the frozen glacial lake, Jokulsarlon. Ever since, adventure tourism companies are offering tours to the lake, along with ATV tours and other adventure sports. Watch out for the strong Icelandic winds though. Word is a storm wrecked the spare Aston Martin and Jaguar car chassis during the shoot.
Do it like Bond: Bond’s love for exotic locations take us to the Bahamas, a country consisting of more than 3,000 islands, cays and islets in the Atlantic ocean. Long stretches of white sand beaches, islands full of coral reefs and shipwrecks, snorkeling with dolphins and other colourful fish or go trekking — the Bahamas are every bit as heavenly as it sounds. The islands are popular amongst honeymooners and adventure junkies alike, providing a mix of sun, sand and excitement.
You know it from: Bond’s first tyrst with the Bahamas was in Sean Connery’s Thunderball. The battle in the underwater cays of the Exuma Cay immortalised the location to an extent that there are now exclusive 007 location tours in the island. The British Colonial Hilton, which appeared in Thunderball and then in Never Say Never Again, also provides Bond fans with a Double-O suite where you can order a shaken, not stirred, martini and spend time with Bond through the books and videos in the room. Craig returned to the islands in Casino Royale.
Do it like Bond: Venice and Bond seem to be made for each other. Both are stylish, romantic and mesmerising. Make a date with them and you will be whisked off for an adventure of a lifetime. Serenade your love on a gondola in the Venetian canals and watch the beautiful city drift by you. Fancy something more exciting? Step into a casino and raise the stakes.
You know it from: Bond does have a history of high-speed chases in the city, the first being in From Russia With Love, where Connery and his Bond girl were pursued as they arrived in Venice on a speedboat. Roger Moore then turned it up several notches in a hovercraft gondola high-speed chase in the movie Moonraker. The last time Bond, this time in the form of Craig, was seen in Venice for Casino Royale, he managed to sink an entire building with the action that followed. Unforgettable, that.